Steeped in history, mystery, and glamour, Morocco’s city of Marrakech (or Marrakesh), is a temperate oasis of golden beaches, sprawling desserts, sacred ruins, luxurious spas, challenging golf courses, and charming local souks (or hand-craft markets).
However, in this North African city surrounded by so much mystery, you’d best be in the know prior to visiting. That’s why we’ve put together these ten cool facts about Marrakech, Morocco…
1. Spectacular Weather
The weather in Marrakech, like in the rest of Morocco, tends to be balmy and sun-soaked all year long—with a particular hot period from June to September when temperatures peak above 30-degrees-celsius.
2. Sun Protection Required
Often called the “Red City”, Marrakech requires sun protection and headgear all year long—even during winter.
3. Respect the Culture
Marrakech, unlike many other areas of the Middle East, is quite liberal. However keep in mind that it is still an Islamic, male-dominated city.
4. Multilingual Population
Although the majority of residents are either Arabic or Berber, Marrakesh is very multi lingual—from business people to shopkeepers—most will be able to pin-point your nationality before you utter a single word.
5. Distinct Areas of the City
Marrakech is broken up into two distinct areas—Old City (also called “Medina”), which houses the souks (or market area) and Modern City, which houses the commercial quarter (Guéliz) and residential area (l’Hivernage) of the city.
6. Photos Come with a Price
If you snap a picture of a snake charmer, monkey, or street dancer in Marrakech, they will expect you to pay them and hassle you if you don’t. Even directions come with a price tag!
7. At the City’s Heart
Djemma El Fna, is the ancient square that lies at the heart of Marrakech, and acts as a gathering point for locals, street performers—such as dancers, musicians, and snake charmers—as well as street food vendors.
8. Getting Around
Taxis are everywhere and rather cheap (under 20-Dirham per trip, about $2.30 USD) and drivers rarely use the meter. However, it’s wise for tourists to get the taxi fare before entering a petit taxi or you may be shocked by the price.
9. Shop Till you Drop
If shopping is your game then the city’s souk district should be your aim. Explore the winding network of souk traders selling traditional pottery, metalwork, leather goods, textiles, spices and various other wares.
10. National Food and Drink
Sweet mint tea is the national drink of Marrakech, while couscous, the traditional Berber dish of semolina (tiny granules of durum wheat) is the national dish—often served with fish, other meat, or veggies, in a broth-like sauce.